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Harper Macleod Chairman Professor Crerar champions rural economy at Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh

Harper Macleod Chairman Professor Lorne Crerar is among the global influencers speaking at the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) in Edinburgh this month – the largest event of its kind to have been held in the UK.

Ten years on from the inaugural event, also hosted in Edinburgh, 1200 delegates will gather at the city's EICC, with a further 300 attending fringe events and visits around the UK and Ireland. Renowned actor and social champion Michael Sheen is among the speakers who will address the event.

Professor Crerar, who is also Chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and co-chair of the National Council of Rural Advisers, will lead a session entitled 'Social Enterprise – a vital model for rural economies' on Thursday, 13 September, chairing a panel of representatives from Australia, Canada, Ethiopia and Scotland.

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The session will provide an insight into the diverse range of rural social enterprises that are tacking social, economic, health and well-being issues in their communities around the world. It will also examine why the social enterprise business model might be ideally suited to rural economies and provide ideas for transferrable business solutions applicable in a range of rural economies.

Professor Crerar said: "The Social Enterprise World Forum is a tremendous event and I'm delighted to have been asked to chair this session, which brings together issues which I believe are hugely important to the modern Scottish economy. There are already a great many fantastic social enterprises in Scotland, particularly across the Highlands and Islands, and the contribution they make, both socially and economically, is increasingly important.

"At the same time Scotland is currently in the process of re-evaluating the extent of its rural economy, building a holistic picture which goes far beyond the traditional view. It's clear that social enterprises have a big part to play in that and I'm looking forward to a great discussion on how that future might unfold during our discussions at the World Forum."

Professor Crerar will also be welcoming guests to a rural symposium which is taking place on Lewis and Harris on 17 September, following on from SEWF 2018.

SEWF 2018 is described by organisers as the global platform to share stories, learn from others and celebrate progress together with colleagues from value driven businesses from around the world. It has been catalytic for the sector in offering a unique and vital platform for bringing together international policy makers and the social enterprise community.

You can find out more about the SEWF here